Experience the food, wine and beauty of Tuscany on a unique, week-long vacation that combines culinary and visual arts. This is a small-group, all-inclusive vacation where you’ll stay in a luxury Tuscan villa in Chianti, the heart of Tuscany. Surrounded by vineyards, gorgeous castles and medieval villages perched atop rolling hills, this is a vacation that provides it all. Delight in art, beauty, tranquility, feasts, and journeys to some of the most beautiful villages in all of Italy.
THE COOKING AND PAINTING CLASSES
We’ll have two half-day, full-meal Tuscan cooking classes; one with a local Italian mamma. In each class you’ll create typical Tuscan dishes and receive a recipe booklet at the end of your vacation that includes recipes for all dishes you made during the week.
Paint scenes from some of the extraordinary sights and picturesque villages you visit. There will be three painting classes during the week. A professional artist and art instructor will lead all the classes. No painting experience is necessary to recreate the scenes. The classes are structured to be both educational and enjoyable and accommodate all levels of painters and painting enthusiasts. You’ll be able to take all of your paintings home with you, a priceless souvenir from your vacation.
SIGHTS, ACTIVITIES AND EXPERIENCES
The week will include unforgettable activities immersing you not only in the best food and wine of the area, but also the culture. We’ll visit four wineries during the week and learn about the various types of wines of the region: Chianti, Brunello, Vino Nobile and others. We’ll visit a special and unique farm where they make olive oil and wine and raise the famous Cinta Senese (Tuscan pigs). Here the owners will take us on a tour of their farm and we’ll feast on the farm’s products for lunch. The week includes guided visits to two Tuscan food markets and a visit to a Pienza cheese maker to learn and taste the famous regional cheese. Don’t forget gelato! I’ve included many gelato stops during the week.
Cities and towns you’ll visit: Siena, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Pienza, Castellina in Chianti, Greve in Chianti, Monticchiello and Monterriggioni. You’ll also enjoy a picturesque drive through the Val d’Orcia.
**Airfare, transportation to Florence (if flying in from elsewhere in Italy/Europe), food at times other than meals or those specified above, travel insurance and expenses of a personal nature (souvenirs and other personal items), are not included in the vacation package price.
2016 Vacation Dates:
***2016 Vacation Dates will be announced soon*** NOTE: If you have a group of four or more that would like to book this vacation, we can work with you to make this a private vacation just for your group. Simply complete the contact form with your request.
Price: $3,950 (based on double occupancy)
**Single Occupancy Supplement charge: $700 per person
Maximum Group Size: 12 people
FOOD LOVER’S IN FLORENCE 3-NIGHT EXTENSION: Join us for 3-nights in Florence before your Tuscany vacation and explore and enjoy the food and art in the Renaissance capital of Italy. Ask for information on the Florence extension at time of booking.
Please complete the information below. I’ll then send you a booking form for this vacation. You will need to pay a $1,000 deposit and complete the booking form to secure your space. Final payment of the remaining balance is due 90 days prior to the vacation start date.[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
Day 1: Arrival day – Stop at Piazzale Michaelangelo on way to Villa – Wine Reception and Welcome Dinner
Afternoon pick up scheduled for those flying into the Florence airport at 2:30pm and then at Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station at 3pm. From there we’ll drive to our Chianti countryside villa, stopping on the way at the Piazzale Michaelangelo for a breathtaking view of the Florence skyline.
You’ll have the afternoon to relax and get settled into your room at the villa and to explore the grounds or relax poolside. We’ll have an antipasti buffet set up in case you need a little something before our evening wine reception and welcome dinner at local wine estate.
Day 2: Market day in Panzano – Winery visit with Lunch – Painting class at the villa
Sunday is market day in Panzano and we’ll have a guided visit to the market. We’ll also do our shopping for ingredients for the cooking class later that evening. After the market, you’ll have time to wander on your own.
Lunch will be at a gorgeous wine estate where we’ll have a guided tour of the winery and then lunch paired with the estate’s wines. After lunch we’ll spend the afternoon in the hilltop village of Radda in Chianti, enjoying the views and the shops. We’ll visit another favorite winery, this one in a Medieval hilltop village. In the evening, we’ll have dinner at the villa and our first painting class with Melanie.
Day 3: Castellina in Chianti – Olive Oil Farm and Lunch – Evening Cooking Class at a Wine Estate
Today we’ll spend the morning at the tiny village of Castellina in Chianti and then enjoy a tour of a very special farm where they make olive oil, wine and salami from the famous Cinta Senese (Tuscan Pigs). The owners will take us around the farm and then we’ll have lunch based on the bounty of their farm.
Day 4: Late morning painting class – Afternoon walking tour of Siena – Dinner at a local favorite in Siena
You can sleep in or spend the morning poolside as we start the day off a little later today, leaving time for relaxation, with a late morning painting class and lunch at the villa.
We’ll spend the afternoon and evening in Siena. Our local guide will take us on a historic walking tour of the city. You’ll have free time to explore and enjoy the city on your own before we meet back for dinner at one of the best restaurants in the city.
Day 5: Cooking class with an Italian mamma – Afternoon in San Gimignano – Dinner and evening painting class at the villa
We’ll meet with a local Italian mamma for our cooking class. Lunch will be what we’ve created. We’ll spend the afternoon visiting the hilltop town of San Gimignano, where our local guide will give us a short orientation walk. We’ll stop for gelato at one of the best gelaterie in the region before leaving you with free time to explore, shop or search for the night’s painting inspiration. Dinner and the painting class will be in the evening at the villa.
Day 6: The Val D’Orcia – Guided Visits to Montepulciano and Pienza – Winery visit with tasting – Dinner and painting class at the villa
Explore the hilltop town of Montepulciano with our local guide.
Our driver will take us on a spectacularly scenic drive through the Val D’Orcia toward Montalcino. We’ll visit a winery and taste the renowned Brunello di Montalcino. Then we’ll visit the ideal Renaissance city of Pienza (designed by Pope Pius II). We’ll visit a cheese maker and taste some of the typical cheese from Pienza. We’ll return to the villa for dinner and our last painting class together.
Day 7: Market visit in Chianti village – Full-meal cooking class – Farewell dinner
We’ll visit a local village on its market day, shopping for ingredients for our full-meal cooking class with your guide, Chef Kathy. Lunch will be what we make during class. After lunch, you’ll have time to relax at the villa enjoying the views of the Chianti valley and possibly take a dip in the pool. We’ll meet back up in the evening for our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 8: Arrivederci Tuscany
After breakfast, we’ll say good-bye and our shuttle to the Florence airport or train station will leave at 9:30am.
**Sequence of classes, activities and excursions may vary. The final itinerary will be given to each guest on the first day of the vacation. Whenever there are local festivals or events happening during a tour, we will try to include them with adjustments to the itinerary to enhance your vacation experience.